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Motorcycle Injury: Inexperienced Riders and Accident Avoidance

Although riding a motorcycle can be an enjoyable and even thrilling experience, the ride comes with its share of risk.

Motorcycle riding can be especially dangerous and even deadly for inexperienced riders.

Inexperienced motorcyclists often have difficulties handling sharp turns, riding safely on roads that are slick from rain or snow, and navigating traffic. As a result, amateur motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in accidents with serious injury that experienced riders.

Safety Tips for Motorcycle Accident Avoidance

If you are a new, inexperienced motorcycle rider, it’s important that you select the proper motorcycle to help avoid accidents. Choose a motorcycle you can handle, not necessarily the biggest or most powerful one on the lot. Pick a motorcycle that’s appropriate for your height and weight. Motorcycles have engines that range in power from 250cc’s to 1600cc’s and vary in weight from 300 to 700 pounds. Heavier motorcycles are harder to balance, and more powerful ones are harder to control.

If you lack riding experience, refrain from riding in hazardous conditions such as bad weather or at night when visibility is poor. Don’t transport passengers until you become a more skilled driver.

Practice riding to improve your skills. Take a motorcycle safety class. You can learn how to take turns, handle rough roads, and avoid accidents by taking a class. Massachusetts offers a variety of rider education and training classes, and so do motorcycle dealerships and private driving schools.

Taking a motorcycle safety class helps improve your riding ability while also lowering your insurance payment significantly. Contact your insurance company and ask about any available discounts.

Massachusetts suggests these tips for motorcycle safety:

  • Before getting on the road, walk around your motorcycle and give it a quick inspection by checking tire pressure, tread depth, brakes, headlights, and hand signals. Make sure any cargo has been secured.
  • Never ride unless you’re wearing a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Massachusetts law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets that meet federal safety standards. Approved helmets have a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker on them.
  • Make sure your arms and legs are covered with a heavy fabric such as denim or leather. In case of a minor accident, the fabric will protect your skin from road rash, burns, and other hazards.
  • Wear heavy boots to protect your legs and feet from injury.
  • Wear reflective clothing and try to stay out of other drivers’ blind spots. Most accidents occur when drivers are unable to see motorcyclists.
  • Don’t drink and ride.
  • Follow all traffic laws.

Some other safety advice includes:

  • Avoid sharing lanes with other drivers as they tend only to recognize cars driving alongside them. Sharing lanes is also known as “lane splitting” and is one of the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents.
  • Be aware of your motorcycle riding ability. Know your skills and limits.
  • Don’t purchase or wear a used helmet. Ride defensively.

Always remember, other drivers might not see you. Look for drivers who do not slow down behind you or are frequently changing lanes. Allow for sufficient stopping distance in case you have to put on the brakes quickly.

Massachusetts Motorcycle Rider and Accident Avoidance Safety Resources

Operating a motorcycle isn’t as easy as one might think. Riders need to learn how to operate the bike and master skills such as balancing on one foot, shifting gears, and feathering the throttle.

In addition, motorcyclists need to learn safety strategies, including defensive driving skills, to avoid accidents and protect themselves on the road.

Massachusetts has motorcycle safety information available on its website at mass.gov.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles sponsors the Massachusetts Rider Education Program, or MREP, which offers motorcyclists access to training courses across the state. The program’s goal is to decrease motorcycle-related fatalities and injuries by boosting the number of approved riders training courses and increasing awareness and education for both motorcyclists and other motorists.

MREP provides rider education and training to both inexperienced and experienced motorcyclists. Four courses offer a variety of motorcycling skills, techniques, and defensive riding strategies.

There are currently 13 MREP-approved motorcycle training schools at 26 locations throughout Massachusetts and nine motorcycle training curriculums.

Massachusetts requires a license to operate a motorcycle.

The importance of motorcycle training courses becomes apparent when you look at the numbers. Nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency’s latest data on vehicle miles traveled shows that motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

Common Mistakes Made by Inexperienced Motorcyclists

Generally speaking, amateur motorcyclists are more likely to get into accidents.

Inexperienced motorcycle drivers who are overconfident or engage in risk-taking behaviors put their own lives and the lives of others on the road at risk.

Research by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute identified factors that increase a motorcyclist’s crash or near-crash risk. The research identified two rider behaviors that increase crash or near-crash risk:

  • Aggressive riding increases the risk by about 18 times
  • Lack of knowledge or skill/inattention increases the risk by about nine times

Some other common errors that amateur motorcyclists often make include:

  • Failure to ride at a safe speed
  • Failure to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to use turn signals during lane changes
  • Braking mistakes
  • Failure to follow traffic regulations
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to wear a helmet and other safety gear

To learn more about how our motorcycle accident attorneys can help you with your motorcycle accident claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 367-2900 or using our online form.

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